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"Yet, architects themselves, have lost their intuitions too. Since they no longer have a widely shared language which roots them in the ordinary feelings people have, they are also prisoners of the absurd and special languages which they have made in private." (Emphasis added.)
Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building, Oxford University Press (New York: 1979), p.233
I made the video by shooting* most of the Pritzker Prize Laureates that were being displayed — coincidentally — in Sibley Hall (Cornell University Department of Architecture) as I was writing and recording this song. The complete list of Pritzker Laureates at that time includes: Philip Johnson (1979), Luis Barragán (1980), James Stirling (1981), Kevin Roche (1982), I. M. Pei (1983), Richard Meier (1984), Hans Hollein (1985), Gottfried Böhm (1986), Kenzo Tange (1987), Gordon Bunshaft / Oscar Niemeyer (1988), Frank Gehry (1989), Aldo Rossi (1990), Robert Venturi (1991), Álvaro Siza Vieira (1992), Fumihiko Maki (1993), Christian de Portzamparc (1994), Tadao Ando (1995), Rafael Moneo (1996), Sverre Fehn (1997), Renzo Piano (1998), Norman Foster (1999), Rem Koolhaas (2000), Herzog & de Meuron (2001), Glenn Murcutt (2002), Jørn Utzon (2003), Zaha Hadid (2004), Thom Mayne (2005), Paulo Mendes da Rocha (2006), Richard Rogers (2007), Jean Nouvel (2008), and Peter Zumthor (2009). Disclaimer: Neither Cornell University nor the Pritzker Prize Laureates have had any role in the writing or production of this song and video.
* by shooting, I mean, of course, videotaping.
Prisoner of Art
Words and music © 2009 J. Ochshorn
1. How do they do it
It's a mystery to me
How they all can be
I wish I knew it
Is this a game i need to play
Something new to learn today
Or will it fade away
2. Why all this preening
Am I missing something here
Is it really crystal clear
For everyone to hear
What is the meaning
What's the purpose and the goal
How will your intellect and soul
Cast in this role
Locked into this endless competition
Your foolish passion and your foolish heart
Can't escape this mindless repetition
You're a prisoner of fashion, a prisoner of art
3. Where is this going
What does it take to understand
Learn the music join the band
Give me your hand
What is it showing
Are you just holding back a tear
Sleeping without fear
Or are you lying here
[chorus x 2]
Song was arranged, produced, and recorded on Garageband software by J. Ochshorn. All instruments and vocals by J. Ochshorn. Instruments include some software instruments (e.g., drums and bass) played live on a midi keyboard by J. Ochshorn.
Recorded at home in Ithaca, NY, September 2009.
Remixed with Logic Pro X in 2018.
First posted 1 September 2014. Last updated: 24 August 2019